What have you been reading lately?

Time for this thread again. What have you been reading lately?

On my plate right now are Sea of Silver Light (Otherland, Vol. 4) by Tad Williams and Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman.

Sea of Silver Light is the last in the Otherland series, which I started about a year and a half ago. The books are really long, but I actually took a few months off before tackling this last volume because I needed a break. I like the story and characters, though. In fact, it’s pretty much the only cyberpunk I’ve ever liked (I tried both Snow Crash and Neuromancer and hated them both).

The Emotional Intelligence book is pretty disappointing so far. The concept has been bandied around for a while now, usually offered as an alternative to traditional intelligence as a way of explaining/predicting success in life. I had always kind of scoffed at the concept, mainly because it came across as born from the same unscientific muck as the other books you find in the “Self Help” section of your local bookstore.

But the concept, which basically says that it’s important to understand and appreciate the emotions of others and yourself, has gotten quite a foothold and I thought it was time I actually read something about it before forming an opinion.

Recently finished books include A Storm of Swords (love it and can’t wait for the 4th book!) and a book on the evolutionary basis for morality called The Science of Good & Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule, by Michael Shermer. This last one was a bit of a dissapointment since it had less science than I was expecting and more philosophy (specifically, far left-leaning political philosophy).

While we’re on the topic, I read (or listened to) 47 books in 2004. I know because I keep track. That’s actually more than 2003, despite my having a new daughter born last January. The secret? Audiobooks x iPod + 45 minute commute = more reading. :)

I read The Bounty over the holidays, from the same author who did the book on Shackleton’s expedition. Not bad, though it tended to drag a bit when discussing all the court martial testimony.

I’m going to start The Known World, the Pulitzer Prize winner for this year. It’s Jones’s first novel, about an African American slaveholding family. My wife read it in a couple of days, and she tends to take her time with her fiction, so I’m taking this as a good sign.


Currently reading [url=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0743249992/qid=1104533870/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/103-2751825-6133467?v=glance&s=books&n=507846]Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions
by Ben Mezrich

Just finished State Of Fear by Michael Crichton and [url=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0767905768/qid=1104533967/sr=2-2/ref=pd_ka_b_2_2/103-2751825-6133467]The Adventurist : My Life in Dangerous Places
by Robert Young Pelton

Re-reading Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, after having tackled it back in '88. A thread about the DaVinci Code made me think about it.

After that I’ll finish The Meaning of Everything, by Simon Winchester, about the creation of the OED. Then I was actually going to read The Bounty myself, it was an Xmas gift, as I had also enjoyed The Endurance by Caroline Alexander.

The Pessimist’s Guide to History

Pompeii by Robert Harris.

He’s great and so far it’s quite good.

Also check out Fatherland and Archangel by him.

The Pity of War by Niall Ferguson, about the socio-economic factors leading to and during World War 1.

Greedo: how is Crichton’s latest?

Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll

Lord Cochrane: Seaman, Radical, Liberator, by Christopher Lloyd (no, not the one from Taxi). All about the real guy who inspired Patrick O’Brian’s Captain Jack Aubrey.
1812: The War That Forged A Nation, Walter Borneman. One of those generally-overlooked wars I decided I needed to know more about.
Ray Harryhausen, An Animated Life, by Ray Harryhausen. I thought this was just going to be a coffee-table book of pretty pictures, but it actually has a lot of text, and it’s all very cool.

The Lemony Snicket series.

Just finished Wizard & Glass by Stephen King, but now I think I’m gonna take a break from the series and read Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield.

I recently read Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. An oddity of a book. You can relax and casually read a few pages for great enjoyment, or you can sit and read a whole section of the book and listen for the sound of your brain beginning to boggle.

I’m reading the first Dirk Gently book for the first time. Envy me!

Got China Mieville’s The Iron Council and Michael Crichton’s State of Fear for Xmas. I’m especially looking forward to The Iron Council.

Just finished Patrick O’Brian’s H.M.S. Suprise and Post Captain and the first of the Halo books, which was suprisingly readable.

I recently re-read Angels and Demons and The Davinci Code. Before that Atlas Shrugged.

Vino Italiano

The Company by Robert Littell. I think someone here or at another forum called it “The Godfather of CIA novels” and that’s pretty much correct. I’d also call it the “War and Rememberance” of CIA novels too. Its a fictionalized account of the CIA from 1950 to 1995 and its an awesome read.

Next up is probably a re-read of James Ellroy’s American Tabloid. The Bay of Pigs stuff in the Company really put me in the mood for it.

I’m rereading the Lord of the Rings, this time the one-volume, red-leather bound edition I got for Christmas a few years ago. I’m also reading Castles of Steel by Robert Massie, which is the story of the Naval battles between Germany and England in WWI. This is the sequel to Dreadnaught.

Lonesome Dove

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.